In the summer of 2019, some new residents began making their home at the Waste and Recycling Centre. As part of an agreement with ECCO Recycling, the operators of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), bee hives were added at the facility.
Landfills are generally thought of just a place to take trash. Introducing bees provides a different perspective on a waste management facility. It makes people reconsider their views and shows that the facility can be a very positive part of the community.
The Waste and Recycling Centre is an ideal place for the bees as it has a large grassed footprint providing an environment where pollen and nectar can be readily collected. The City is in the process of enhancing this even further a landscaping initiative that includes plants, grasses and trees that benefit the bees. Bees also need large quantities of water to thrive. Most landfills, including Lethbridge's Waste and Recycling Centre, have stormwater ponds to meet this need.
ECCO Recycling has a full time beekeeper and other support staff to manage hives in six different locations including Aldersyde, Balzac, Dalemead, Mazeppa, Calgary (Quarry Park) and Lethbridge.
The average production per bee colony in Alberta is approximately 58kg of honey per year. ECCO Recycling owns the equipment to extract, process and bottle the honey which is typically donated or given away. In Lethbridge, ECCO will keep half of the honey and the other half will be provided to the City to be given away.
With the addition of the recently renovated Blue Sky Centre, the City is working on providing more community education at the Waste and Recycling Centre, including information about the important role of bees in our eco system.
ECCO Recycling has committed to managing bees at the City's Waste and Recycling Centre for a minimum of five years. So far, the Lethbridge bees have been very productive and are thriving at the Waste and Recycling Centre.